Category Archives: Old Testament

New in the Focus on the Bible series: Hosea: The Passion of God by Tim Chester

Hosea: The Passion of God by Tim ChesterIn the message of Hosea we see the passion of God. We see the jealousy of God, the commitment of God, the heartbreak of God, the enthusiasm of God, the love of God. People often talk about what they feel about God. Hosea tells us what God feels about us. It is the author’s prayer that as we explore the message of Hosea the Spirit of God would reveal God’s passion so that He stirs our passion: our jealousy for God, our commitment to God, our heartbreak at sin, our enthusiasm to serve, our love for the lost.

See the full range of commentaries in the Focus on the Bible series at ChristianFocus.com.

Praise for Hosea: The Passion of God:

“In his commentary Tim Chester has left few scholarly stones unturned yet we are not invited to behave as academic spectators on the text …difficult issues are not avoided and the prophet’s ministry is unerringly allowed to lead us to Christ …The prayer that accompanies this commentary is that it might stir our passion for God and his ways and to that we add our ‘amen’.”
-Ken Armstrong ~ Pastor, Bessacarr Evangelical Church, Doncaster, England

“This is an excellent commentary on an under-preached part of God’s word. It is exegetically faithful so that there is a clear sense of what this would have meant to Hosea and his contemporaries. Moreover, it treats Hosea as Christian Scripture, and each part of the commentary takes us clearly to the Lord Jesus. This book has deepened my love for the One who first loved me, and I think it is a valuable addition to the existing commentaries on Hosea.”
-Robin Weekes ~ Minister, Emmanuel Church, Wimbledon, London

“This fresh, readable, insightful commentary will lead you to worship a God who is jealous for our affections, and loves us too much to leave us sitting comfortably in apathy! Christians cannot fail to profit from this sound and exciting read.”
-Jeremy McQuoid ~ Teaching Pastor, Deeside Christian Fellowship, Aberdeen, Scotland

Tim ChesterAbout the Author:
Tim Chester is an author, Pastor of The Crowded House, Sheffield and a leader of The Crowded House church planting network. He is married with two daughters.

Connect with Tim at:

Other books by Tim Chester:
The Ascension: Humanity in the Presence of God by Jonny Woodrow & Tim Chester

Where to Buy:
Hosea: The Passion of God by Tim Chester is available at any good  Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

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New From Alasdair Paine – The First Chapters of Everything

The First Chapters of Everything by Alasdair PaineDespite its enormous significance, it is hard to hear the message of Genesis 1– 4 today. These chapters are widely dismissed as an ancient ‘myth’, a primitive account of origins long since displaced by scientific research. Within some churches, arguments about how to read the book (what are the ‘days’ of chapter 1, etc.?) have become so heated that we end up avoiding it. The result is the silencing of one of the most important messages of all time. This book is written out of a longing to make that message known.

For those seeking to work out the relationship between Genesis and science, I hope that this book, while not giving the answers, will at least give a steer as to what the Biblical text is about.

*Adapted from the preface to The First Chapters of Everything.

Praise for The First Chapters of Everything:

“Deceptively clear and digestible style… He is preoccupied with ‘What is God saying to us here?’ and refuses to allow the elephant of secondary issues to stand between us and the Genesis text (though he provides additional notes for the curious). Here is a book I found refreshing my spirit, stimulating my mind, and nourishing my soul.”
Dale Ralph Davis ~ Minister in Residence, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina

“There is no better brief introduction to [Gen. 1-4] than this. Alasdair Paine helpfully engages with the complex questions of interpretation but never gets bogged down… The focus throughout is God’s contemporary message to us through these chapters, which is presented with great clarity and powerful application.”
-Vaughan Roberts ~ Rector of St Ebbe’s, Oxford and Director of Proclamation Trust

About the Author:
Alasdair Paine is Vicar of St. Andrew the Great, Cambridge and a trustee of Keswick Ministries.

Where to Buy:
The First Chapters of Everything by Alasdair Paine is available at any good  Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

The First Chapters of Everything by Alasdair Paine  Buy Now:

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Jeremiah & Lamentations: the Death of a Dream, and What Came After by Michael Wilcock

Jeremiah & Lamentations: The death of a dream and what came after by Michael WilcockJeremiah was set aside to be the prophet to the nations. Set apart to be a voice that was not afraid to stand up for sharing the message of the Lord to those aiming headlong for judgement. There are responsibilities for those who belong to God. However God still loves his people even when they have sinned against him. We are reassured that hope can be found even in times of suffering.

Lamentations tells Jerusalem’s story of suffering, starvation, and despair, till finally the walls are breached, the survivors deported, the goods looted and the city torched.

Praise for Jeremiah & Lamentations:

“It is a pleasure to commend this fine piece of commentary writing by Michael Wilcock. Over the years he has produced many commentaries on both Testaments, including some fine examples in the BST series. Here he has lost none of his touch as with sure-footed exegesis, spiritual insight and elegant writing he tackles the difficult books of Jeremiah and Lamentations. All Bible readers will profit from reading these books with a sympathetic and knowledgeable guide. However, they will also be of great use to preachers who will find themselves stimulated, enlightened and emboldened to tackle these often neglected books in the company of an experienced and erudite preacher.”
-Bob Fyall ~ Senior Tutor in Ministry, Cornhill Training Course, Scotland.

“In this book, Michael Wilcock has done a real service to students of Scripture: he has made Jeremiah and Lamentations accessible and applicable. From page 1, it is clear that the reader is in the hands of a careful scholar and faithful guide to the life and writings of the prophet Jeremiah. In short, this is a wonderful resource for anyone who wants to preach, teach, or simply study these sometimes intimidating books. When people in my church ask for a resource to help them read Jeremiah and Lamentations, this book will be at the top of my list!”
-Michael McKinley ~ Senior Pastor, Guilford Baptist Church, Sterling, Virginia

“Michael Wilcock’s thorough and creative exposition of the books of Lamentations and Jeremiah is a joy to read. His clear style and pastoral perspective provide a valuable resource for preachers in the pulpit, teachers in the classroom, and other students of this important, and at times, difficult prophetic pair. I recommend it to those who would encounter Jeremiah’s message in light of its ancient context, the redemptive work of Christ, and its application into the contemporary Christian life.”
-John Scott Redd, Jr. ~ President and Associate Professor of Old Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C.

Michael WilcockAbout the Author:
Michael Wilcock is a respected author and Bible teacher. He has spent many years in pastoral ministry including his most recent charge, St Nicholas, Durham. He was formerly Director of Pastoral Studies at Trinity College, Bristol.

Books by Michael Wilcock:
Jeremiah & Lamentations: The death of a dream and what came after by Michael WilcockIn The Days of The Kings by Michael Wilcock

Where to Buy:
Jeremiah & Lamentations: the Death of a Dream, and What Came After by Michael Wilcock is available at any good  Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

Jeremiah & Lamentations: The death of a dream and what came after by Michael Wilcock Buy Now:

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Coping With Change – Ecclesiastes by Walter C. Kaiser Jr.

Coping With Change - EcclesiastesEcclesiastes is a book filled with good news for those struggling to make sense of what is happening in life. Why does man madly pursue one thing and then another without meaning? True joy comes from the Lord himself, and for the one who has learned to fear God and keep his commandments, all of life holds purpose and delight. In Coping with Change, noted theologian Walter Kaiser mines the riches of Ecclesiastes to reveal the source of true joy.

This new edition includes Dr. Kaiser’s own translation of Ecclesiastes.

Walter C. Kaiser Jr.About the Author:
Dr Walter C. Kaiser Jr. is Colman M. Mockler Distinguished Professor of Old Testament and President Emeritus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. One of the world’s premier biblical scholars he is a frequent speaker at conferences and has written more than 30 books.

Praise for Coping with Change – Ecclesiastes:

“Perhaps the most helpful feature of Kaiser’s treatment is that he believes the book has a discernible plan and a traceable argument and that Qoheleth was not a cynical old goat who drank Drano or vinegar for breakfast. That makes a difference in the way you understand Ecclesiastes. Buy your own copy and find out how.”
-Dale Ralph Davis ~ Well respected author and Bible expositor

“Ecclesiastes is a wisdom writing from ancient Israel but there is no book more relevant for our postmodern world today. Dr. Walter Kaiser, one of our best biblical scholars, has given us a lively commentary on this part of God’s Word, one that will help us face today’s changing world with integrity and faithfulness.”
-Timothy George ~ Founding Dean of Beeson Divinity School, Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama

“Walt Kaiser’s Coping with Change walks us through the book of Ecclesiastes, functioning like a scholarly tour guide through the mind of a man who had seen and done and achieved it all–and has realized that everything is a “mist” without God”
-Owen Strachan ~ Assistant Professor of Christian Theology and Church History, Boyce College, Louisville, Kentucky

Book Details:

  • ISBN:  9781781910627
  • Pages:  208

Where to Buy:
Coping With Change – Ecclesiastes by Walter C. Kaiser Jr. is available at any good  Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

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Hear Richard P. Belcher Jr. Live on ReformedCast – 1/7/2013 @ 7:00 PM ET

Richard P. Belcher, Jr.Christian Focus author Richard P. Belcher, Jr. will be interviewed live Monday January 7, 2013 at 7:00 PM ET on ReformedCast to discuss his book Genesis: The Beginning of God’s Plan of Salvation, one of the latest additions to the Focus on the Bible commentary series. You can tune in to the live broadcast at www.reformedcast.com.

The archive of this interview is now available for download here: LINK.

About the Book:
Genesis provides us with a foundation for correctly understanding the world. Within Genesis, the character and the role of human beings within the world God has created is revealed. In reading Genesis we find on every occasion, in his dealings with mankind, God steps in by his grace and demonstrates that he is in control.

Commentaries in the Focus on the Bible series are popular level commentaries especially useful for pastors and small group leaders. They are useful for personal devotions and spiritual growth. Many of the authors of the commentaries are leading expositors of God’s Word on their speciality subjects. The series holds to the inerrancy of scripture and the uniqueness of Christ in salvation.

About the Author:
Richard Belcher, Jr. is the Professor of Old Testament and academic dean at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC. His previous books include The Messiah and the Psalms.

Where to Buy:
 Genesis: The Beginning of God’s Plan of Salvation is available at any good  Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

Genesis: The Beginning of God's Plan of Salvation (Focus on the Bible) by Richard P. Belcher, Jr. Buy Now:

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Genesis: The Beginning of God’s Plan of Salvation by Richard P. Belcher, Jr.

Genesis: The Beginning of God's Plan of Salvation (Focus on the Bible) by Richard P. Belcher, Jr.Genesis provides us with a foundation for correctly understanding the world. Within Genesis, the character and the role of human beings within the world God has created is revealed. In reading Genesis we find on every occasion, in his dealings with mankind, God steps in by his grace and demonstrates that he is in control.

Commentaries in the Focus on the Bible series are popular level commentaries especially useful for pastors and small group leaders. They are useful for personal devotions and spiritual growth. Many of the authors of the commentaries are leading expositors of God’s Word on their speciality subjects. The series holds to the inerrancy of scripture and the uniqueness of Christ in salvation.

Richard P. Belcher, Jr.About the Author:
Richard Belcher, Jr. is the Professor of Old Testament and academic dean at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC. His previous books include The Messiah and the Psalms.

Praise for Genesis: The Beginning of God’s Plan of Salvation:

“The meaning of creation (and/or evolution) has taken its place at the front of the intellectual/cultural stage for over a century and a half, and shows no sign of moving from the center of discussion and debate. Secularists and Christians – both liberal and conservative – instinctively understand the high significance of the issue, and hence, the intensity of the continuing debate. Whether God is real and Scripture is true are both tied up in the foundational text of the Bible: Genesis chapters one to three. Richard Belcher’s Genesis is a clearly written and judiciously researched guide to the entire question of the meaning of the book of Genesis (not just to its first three chapters, pivotal though these are).”
Douglas F. Kelly ~ Richard Jordan Professor of Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina

“It is hard to think that more material was ever packed into a brief compass, or with greater clarity, helpfulness and ease of reading than Dr. Belcher has managed in this commentary. The words ‘thoroughness’, ‘fairness’ and ‘lucidity’ spring to mind to describe the whole work. Indeed, I cannot think of an important ‘stone left unturned’! The treatment, for example, of the creation narrative ranks among the fullest and fairest I have ever read, but, without exaggeration every page has its quota of good things, problems solved, and truths illuminated. In a word, I enjoyed this book from beginning to end and warmly commend it.”
Alec Motyer ~ Well known Bible expositor and commentary writer

“Richard Belcher’s commentary focuses on the big picture of Genesis, tracing God’s story of redemption through the biblical narrative. His careful exposition shows how Genesis reveals God’s intentions for his creation and his unstoppable purpose to bless his people and redeem them out of slavery, bringing good out of evil. God’s people can live with confidence that God will be faithful to his promises to redeem and restore the broken and the suffering. He is able to take what people mean for evil and turn it into good. This commentary deserves a wide appreciation, as it will help pastors, leaders, and Christians see how Genesis proclaims the deepest message of the Bible: the grace of God for sinners and those who suffer.”
Justin Holcomb ~ Executive director of the Resurgence, lead pastor of Mars Hill Church | U-District, Seattle, Washington, & adjunct professor at Reformed Theological Seminary

Where to Buy:
 Genesis: The Beginning of God’s Plan of Salvation is available at any good  Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

Genesis: The Beginning of God's Plan of Salvation (Focus on the Bible) by Richard P. Belcher, Jr. Buy Now:

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Filed under Christian Focus, Commentary, Focus on the Bible, New Release, Old Testament

Hear Colin Smith on KTIS Faith Radio – 3/28/2012 – 12:00 PM CT

Jonah: Navigating a God-centred by Life Colin S SmithChristian Focus author Colin Smith will be interviewed live Wednesday March 28, 2012 at 12:00 PM CT to discuss his book Jonah: Navigating a God-Centered Life on KTIS Faith Radio. You can tune in to the live broadcast at www.faithradionet.com.

The archive of this broadcast can be found here:  LINK.

About the Book:
Facing an assignment equivalent to being sent to warn notorious terrorists of God’s anger with them, perhaps it was no wonder that Jonah ran away – certainly portrayed in Scripture as no “super saint”, he avoided God and His call on his life. Yet God turned the situation around as pagan sailors encountered the living God who made the land and sea and the entire population of a city realized that although they deserved to be wiped off the face of the earth, there was a God of compassion and mercy who forgave them. God’s mercy is greater than our failures and through adverse circumstances and pain, a character of Christ-like compassion is chiseled out.

About the Author:
Colin Smith serves as Senior Pastor of the Orchard Evangelical Free Church. Colin is the author of several books including Jonah: Navigating a God-Centered Life (Christian Focus, 2012). He can be heard daily on the Unlocking the Bible radio broadcast (unlockingthebible.org).

Where to Buy:
Jonah: Navigating a God-Centered Life is available at any good Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

Jonah: Navigating a God-centred by Life Colin S Smith Buy Now:

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January Book Giveaway – Daniel: Trusting the True Hero by Sean Michael Lucas

Our January Book Giveaway features Daniel: Trusting the True Hero by Sean Michael Lucas.

About the Book:
Dare to Trust in Daniel’s God! What brings you to the book of Daniel? Is it the moral example of Daniel and his robust faith? Or is it because you want to dig further into the prophetic material that speaks of the end times? Primarily the book tells you about Daniel’s God. Lucas suggests rather than daring to be a Daniel, we should dare to trust in Daniel’s God. This book will help you as you learn more about Daniel’s God and why you too can trust him in every circumstance. Daniel was called to be a blessing even in exile and to avoid defilement in a pagan world. Such is God’s call to you today so that you may honor God and put him first in your heart and life.

About the Author:
Sean Lucas is the Senior Minister of First Presbyterian Church, Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Prior to this, he was Chief Academic Officer and associate professor of church history at Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri. He received BA and MA degrees from Bob Jones University and the PhD degree from Westminster Theological Seminary. Sean is active in social media, follow him on Twitter  and Facebook.

How to Enter:

  • Complete the form at the end of this post.

Terms and Conditions:

  • This contest is limited to residents of the 48 state continental United States and the UK.
  • The contest will run through end of day January 31, 2011.
  • After the contest closes, we will choose 2 winners, who will each receive 1 copy of the book.

This contest is now closed. Thank you for your interest.

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Filed under Christian Focus, Contest, Old Testament

New Release – Amos: An Ordinary Man with an Extraordinary Message by T. J. Betts

The latest addition to the popular Focus on the Bible series is Amos: An Ordinary Man with an Extraordinary message by T. J. Betts.

Amos had no claim to fame. He was not even a son of a prophet. Neither had he any formal training to be a prophet. Yet God called him out from a career of overseeing Herdsman. He was sent out from the south to bring the Lord’s message to Samaria in the Northern Kingdom. Amos, called to speak at the time of national disunity; military superiority; economic prosperity and religious activity. Amos brings home the idea of a famine. However it is not food the people lack like we might expect but there is a famine of the Word of God. Through this study we will be reminded of the importance of the Word of God in our lives.

Praise for Amos: An Ordinary Man with an Extraordinary Message:

“Books on the Old Testament tend to be either technical and tedious or superficial and moralistic. Once in a while we discover one that breaks the mould. T. J. Betts has done it! He tells us not only what Amos means but also why it matters. He proves again that the expositor’s task is not to make the Bible relevant, but to simply show how relevant it is!”
Alistair Begg ~ Senior Pastor, Parkside Church, Chagrin Falls, Ohio

“What a wonderful gift to the pastor who wants to allow the text of Scripture to drive his sermon. T.J. Betts’ commentary will be ready at hand when I prepare to teach from the prophet Amos. It is a treasure trove for the serious expositor.”
Daniel L. Atkin ~ President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, North Carolina

“T. J. Betts comes to the text of Amos with a scholarly mind and a pastoral heart. His judgments about the text are carefully considered and sound, and his prose is warm and direct. Pastors who have found the task of preaching from the prophets daunting will discover in this volume helpful material for historical background, theological interpretation, and homiletical application.”
Duane Garrett ~ John R. Sampey Professor of Old Testament Interpretation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky

“I have known T. J. Betts for a number of years. He was raised in a pastor’s home, and he is a pastor/scholar who writes for the local church. Using personal illustrations and practical applications in this commentary, he shows how the writings of an eighth-century B.C. prophet still speak to the 21st century church.”
Chuck Lawless ~ Vice-President for Global Theological Advance, International Mission Board, Southern Baptist Convention, Crestwood, Kentucky

Amos: An Ordinary Man with an Extraordinary Message is available at your local Christian book store. Here are a few of the places you can purchase it online: ChristianBook.com, Monergism Books, 10ofthose.com, BarnesandNoble.com, or Amazon.com.

A complete list of all books in the Focus on the Bible series can be found here: LINK.

About the Author:
T. J. Betts serves as an Assistant Professor of Old Testament Interpretation at Boyce College. Before becoming an Assistant Professor at Boyce College, Dr. Betts served adjunctively both at Boyce and Southern Seminary in the areas of Hebrew and Old Testament. He is a fifth generation Baptist minister who has pastored three churches in Ohio and Indiana for over 14 years. Dr. Betts has authored Ezekiel the Priest: A Custodian of Tora as well as a number of articles and essays and is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society.

Related Books from Christian Focus Publications:

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New Release – Isaiah by the Day: A New Devotional Translation by Alec Motyer

As a man who loves the Word of God, and is passionate about the Old Testament, Alec Motyer presents these daily devotionals from Isaiah birthed from a lifetime of study. For him, daily devotion is not a mere duty but a real desire to be transformed by the challenging Word of God as given to the prophet Isaiah. These devotionals reassure us that the Lord can restore what sin has robbed us of. Day by day you will read freshly translated passages from Isaiah and have an opportunity to explore the passage further through the author’s notes and devotional comments. Take time to acquaint yourself with these passages from God’s word and treasure them in your heart and life.

Dr. Motyer invites readers to share in his passion for the book of Isaiah, see his personal invitation from the Author’s Preface below:

Welcome to Isaiah! I send you this invitation as one who loves everything about him-the way he writes, his mastery of words, the rhythmic beauty of his Hebrew and, above all, the magnificent sweep of his messianic vision, taking in the glory of Jesus as God and King, the wonder and fullness of the salvation he accomplished, and the shining hope of his coming again. I want to share all this with you so that you may become as indebted to Isaiah as I feel myself to be. His book is as much the crown of the Old Testament as the Epistle to the Hebrews is of the New Testament-and for the same reason. Isaiah saw the coming King, Saviour and Conqueror; Hebrews knew him as Jesus. May the Lord God bless you richly as you read this tremendous portion of his word.

Alec Motyer
Poynton, Cheshire

Isaiah by the Day: A new Devotional Translation is available at your local Christian book store.  Here are a few of the places you can purchase it online: ChristianBook.com, Monergism Books, 10ofthose.com, BarnesandNoble.com or Amazon.com.

About the Author:
Dr. Alec Motyer is a well-known Bible expositor and from an early age has had a love for studying God’s Word. He was formerly principal of Trinity College, Bristol, where over his years there he regularly taught on the book of Isaiah.

Other Books by Alec Motyer:

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Filed under Christian Focus, New Release, Old Testament